Unhallowed Essence Grenades Demon Hunter BiS Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
Below, we detail the items and gems that you should use for your Unhallowed Essence Grenades Demon Hunter in Diablo 3 and why. We also list your paragon points and Kanai's Cube items. Updated for patch 2.6.8 and Season 20.
Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
The build takes advantage of the full Unhallowed Essence set bonuses, taking five of the six available pieces and cubing a Ring of Royal Grandeur to reduce the number of items for set bonus completion by one. This is necessary to open the leg slot for the primary skill damage multiplication of the Depth Diggers pants.
The ability to store the powers of Ring of Royal Grandeur in the Kanai's Cube opens a powerful offensive combo in the jewelry: the Endless Walk set, The Compass Rose and The Traveler's Pledge. This 2.4 rework adds a unique mechanic that slowly increases your damage by up to a 100% if you remain stationary, and drains it away and increases your damage reduction while moving. This dynamic mimics the Grenade playstyle, as you alternate stationary, mid range Grenade spamming with extended periods of aggroing packs and Vaulting between fights (see this build's skills page for more information).
Your other ring slot will be taken by Convention of Elements, whose rotation of elemental bonuses you will have to keep under close scrutiny. Once the sequence reaches the Fire element, you will enjoy a significant increase to your damage — so try to adopt a strategy of drawing monster attention during the off cycles, and major Grenade spam during the Fire cycle.
One of the key 2.4.3 reworks, the Hellcat Waistguard belt brings up builds based on grenade mechanics at least to the level of builds based on rockets. Hellcat Waistguard has an unlisted 50% chance to proc, irrespective of the skill used or unique affix rolled. The belt increases the number of times grenades "bounce" and deal damage, counting the initial impact as the first bounce (and thus increasing your burst from the get-go). Notably, the final burst is 800% of the base damage, which somewhat lessens the impact of worse (less bounces) belts, and can even make them preferable for speedfarming to reduce the time between a shot and the final burst. This is especially important considering that grenades are very likely to bounce outside of a fight, or even outright disappear upon collision with a wall or a similar object. Nevertheless, for endgame pushing you will be looking for ideal circumstances — open area rifts, where the perfect 5-bounce Hellcat Waistguard will shine. As a final note, this item is interchangeable with Hunter's Wrath in the Cube depending on your better rolled item.
Retouched several times during the Patch 2.4 cycle, Depth Diggers now offer up to a 100% damage increase to primary attacks of all classes and flavors, making them a necessary inclusion to this Grenade-centric build. Note that the damage increase is multiplicative in nature and the legendary bonus can roll anywhere from 80 to 100% — the difference between a good and a bad roll will be more pronounced from the unique stat rather than the skill % rolls.
To counteract the inherent frailty of the Demon Hunter, the Wraps of Clarity bracers reduce damage taken by up to 35% for 5 seconds after using a Hatred Generator — functionally a permanent bonus in this primary attack spam build.
The weapon setup is dedicated to utility legendaries. 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 is the one-handed crossbow Dawn — with 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. While this combo might be familiar to long time Demon Hunter players from the Legacy of Nightmares build, it is important to note that this spec is not Fan of Knives-centric, and your offhand is NOT a stat stick whose damage can be ignored or rolled off; both weapons need to be as good as possible.
Desired Stats, Breakpoints and Other Notes
Rolls-wise, this Grenade-centric playstyle makes good use of Cooldown Reduction, Skill and Area Damage affixes. You will be trying to reach at least a 37% CDR breakpoint for permanent uptime of Vengeance, attainable from Paragon points, a Flawless Royal Diamond in the helm and 3 other items with max CDR rolls, distributed as you see fit (i.e. on shoulders, gloves and one ring).
For Defense stats, aim for a life pool between 500-600k; dropping as much as you can for offense as you grow accustomed to the build. You will mostly sustain through Life per Hit on gear, with one high roll in your setup (i.e. bracer).
All augmentations on gear should be done with your main stat, Dexterity.
Note that the stat suggestions below portray an ideally rolled item with stats listed in relative order of importance. The first four of them are main stats, and the latter two — secondary stats. If your item lacks and is unable to be rerolled into the primary stats outlined below, especially for a stat higher on the list, strongly consider its replacement. Perfecting Secondary stats is mostly a case of hyper-optimization and isn't a case for discarding an item, except where noted.
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.
In the Core section, max out Movement Speed to the 25% cap. Normally this is done by dumping the first 50 Core Paragon points into Movement Speed, but if your boots have an imperfect roll with Movement Speed as a stat that you cannot replace, adjust the necessary point investment accordingly by simply subtracting your roll from the 25% max. After that dump as much as you comfortably can into Dexterity, but feel free to invest into Vitality if you feel yourself lacking in toughness, or Maximum Hatred if you want to play around with a bigger resource pool.
In the Offense section, max out Cooldown Reduction, Crit Damage, Crit Chance and Attack Speed in that order. In Defense, prioritize All Resistance, then Life %, then Armor, and finish off with Life Regeneration. In Utility, build up Area Damage and Life on Hit first, then finish off with Gold Find.You can put the remaining points in Resource Cost Reduction (they will not a detriment the build), but they won't do much for this generator-based spec.
Simplicity's Strength is one of the best DPS gems you can take for the build, as it was changed into a separate damage multiplication source to primary skills in Patch 2.4.1. Upgrading with a steady pace of half a percent per gem level, it quickly becomes a priority and a fixture in your gem choices. Its buffed healing secondary effect is just icing on the cake.
Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage for GR progression, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. You will primarily (and quite easily) be proccing this gem with Fan of Knives Bladed Armor and its interaction with Numbing Traps.
Introduced in Season 4, Bane of the Stricken occupies a firm spot in your jewelry sockets during highest end progression. 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. This Grenade fares better than most in that regard, so you can gamble on the overall bonus of Bane of the Powerful not only during speedfarm, but as far into the high tiers as you are willing.
When it comes to gear gems, you will start out progression by slotting the highest available level of Emeralds in the chest and pants sockets. Ideally, these will all be Flawless Royal Emeralds as soon as possible. As you grow in Paragon (bulking up Dexterity in the Core section) and aim for higher tier and more dangerous GRs, you will transition those gems into the defensive Flawless Royal Diamond. There is no specific breakpoint where you do that; the rule of thumb is to make the change as soon as you feel the lack of toughness impede your progress. Since you are chasing a specific CDR breakpoint, slot a Flawless Royal Diamond in your helm. In your weapon, use a Flawless Royal Emerald for the Crit Damage boost.
|Torso and Pants|
The power of Echoing Fury in your weapon Cube slot is highly synergistic with the Grenades Demon Hunter, as it provides a scaling Attack Speed and Movement Speed bonuses, both of which are vital to this IAS-centric, mobility-dependent build.
While it is tucked away in the Cube, Hunter's Wrath is a powerhouse in this build. This belt offers a fixed increase to attack speed and a varying multiplicative damage increase to primary skills, more easily maximized by the extraction of its power.
The jewelry slot is taken by Ring of Royal Grandeur — a cache legendary item from Act I bounties. Running the full 6-piece Unhallowed Essence set bonus along with the damage increase of the Depth Diggers is a tremendous boost to the build.
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.
The preferred potion for this build is Bottomless Potion of the Leech due to its Life per Hit bonuses, which synergize perfectly for the high attack speed and sustain-through-attacks playstyle of the build.
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 Mar. 2020: No changes necessary for Season 20.
- 21 Nov. 2019: Expanded the stat priorities, paragon points, and gems sections. Added a potion section.
- 23 Aug. 2019: Echoing Fury replaces Buriza-Do Kyanon in Kanai's Cube.
- 16 May 2019: Guide was reviewed and approved for Season 17.
- 17 Jan. 2019: Added suggestions for the baseline Ring of Royal Grandeur for Seasonal characters.
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