zDPS Demon Hunter Support Build with Unhallowed Essence (Patch 2.4.2 / Season 8)
Fulfilling an unusual role with surprising effectiveness, the Support Demon Hunter build emerges from wudijo's theorycrafting hands to compete in the damage-buffing, globe-generating metagame. Note that this utility heavy build is strictly multiplayer oriented, a zero DPS spec that plays part of a composition with other damage dealing party members.
the build requires the following set pieces:
- Helm: Accursed Visage;
- Shoulders: Unsanctified Shoulders;
- Gloves: Fiendish Grips;
- Pants: Unholy Plates.
This build is no longer competitive. We are leaving it on the website for documentation purposes and in case it becomes relevant again.
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.
Multiplayer Progression Build
|Grenade Grenade Cache Multishot Wind Chill 1 Sentry Guardian Turret 2 Marked for Death Contagion 3 Vault Tumble 4 Companion Wolf Companion|
The Support Demon Hunter assumes a scouting position in the group, searching the rift grounds ahead for elite packs, finding and taking pylons at the appropriate times, and drawing monsters towards the group. All the while, he maintains defensive buffs on the DPS and supports the group damage output with Crit and additive damage bonuses. You will always be a step ahead of the group, aggroing and pulling monsters towards them with Grenade Cache volleys; be mindful of the amount of monsters that you pull in, and find a balance between a good pack and endangering the group. When a major fight has been formed, it is a goodtime for your Multishot Wind Chill crit bonuses to shine — using it prematurely will slow the monsters down too much on their way towards the fight. Use Vault sparingly, mostly to keep up Elusive Ring damage reduction and improve your scouting. Keep up the Companion Wolf Companion buff at all times and snipe low health targets with the Marked for Death debuff, spreading the bonuses with the Contagion rune. As far as your protective utility is concerned, keep a Sentry Guardian Turret on the DPS at all times.
Strategy, Skills, and Runes
The general recommendation for your aggroing attack is the generator Grenade Grenade Cache, which you will use for fast AoE pulls and maintenance of the Fortress Ballista defensive bonuses. While it will hurt your Toughness, you can alternatively run Entangling Shot for the additive damage buff of Odyssey's End. Spreading Chain Gang from one enemy to another with well-placed shots will refresh the duration of the bonuses.
When you form a large enough fight, you will interweave Multishot into your primary attack spam. The skill itself brings a sizable increase to Critical Hit Chance against affected monsters through Wind Chill, and is taken a step further through the rune's chilling property and subsequent interaction with the Iceblink legendary gem, bringing another 10% Critical Hit Chance to the group. Note that the rune and gem have similar uptime on the crit bonuses (3 seconds and 3.5 seconds respectively), so make a habit of Multishotting big fights at least once every 3 seconds.
Vault is not only taken as a movement skill, but also as means of protection from the cubed Elusive Ring. While Vault should be used sparingly during fights to keep up your defenses, you can cover a great distance when scouting through the resource-reducing Tumble rune.
In contrast with a Marauder set build, Sentry is not taken as the basis of your damage output, but as a protective buff for your DPS from the rune Guardian Turret. Reducing incoming damage by 25% for anyone caught within the 15-yard protective bubble, multiplying with the Numbing Traps passive for a total of 43.75% DR, and with a generous 30-second duration per turret, this skill makes it easier to keep your DPS companions alive.
Marked for Death is a cheap, 3 Discipline per activation debuff increasing damage additively against the affected target by 20%. Picking a weaker or low health target to apply Marked for Death to is important, as you will use the spreading effect of the Contagion rune to great effect.
With multiple utilities to pick from, the Support Demon Hunter chooses a damage buff role for the Companion skill through the Wolf Companion rune. Once activated, it produces a multiplicative damage increase for a 10-second window, and should be activated as soon as it is available; as the only significant cooldown in the build, it will reach permanent uptime through Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac resets.
This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.
Taking the notorious frailty of Demon Hunters into account, as well as the daring role of the Support Demon Hunter — scouting, aggroing, vaulting through packs — a cheat death is a priority in your passive choices. Demon Hunters have Awareness: a second life on a decent 60-second cooldown, coupled with a brief window of invulnerability and life regeneration when triggered.
As previously noted, Numbing Traps will synergize with your Sentry to bring sizable Damage Reduction to party members fighting in proximity to a Guardian Turret. On top of that, you will enjoy its additional synergy with the chilling effect of Wind Chill, and Multishot's huge AoE will make the reduction of enemy damage infinitely easier to apply.
Tactical Advantage is the basis of your scouting prowess, providing a whopping 60% Movement Speed increase for 2 seconds after using a mobility-oriented skill. In this build, you will trigger it with Vault for the signature nimbleness of the Support Demon Hunter.
The last passive slot is more flexible, with no necessary choice overshadowing the rest; you are advised to experiment and find one to your liking. Blood Vengeance will improve your resource stability, which is vital to maintain the Aquila Cuirass damage reduction. Perfectionist is a well-rounded choice for personal defense. Custom Engineering will double the duration of Sentries for your convenience, and give you more leeway when spreading the turrets with its additional charge.
Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
Typical for the support position, this spec uses a mixture of sets and utility legendaries to maximize Toughness, Cooldown and Resource management. You will be incorporating four pieces of the Unhallowed Essence set, striving to reach the 4-piece set bonus for a 60% reduction of incoming damage. You will focus on Cooldown and Resource Cost Reduction stats on both Fiendish Grips and Unsanctified Shoulders, while running pure Toughness stats on Accursed Visage and Unholy Plates.
Two primary skill-oriented items will complement the Support DH setup nicely. While the damage half of the Hunter's Wrath affix will be lost on the build, the increase of primary attack speed will result in faster, more consistent pulls. Wraps of Clarity on the other hand will serve as an additional layer of protection 5 seconds after you use a Hatred generating attack, a generously long duration with virtually permanent uptime in this build's rotation.
A notable deviation in gearing is taking the 2-piece bonus of the Marauder set (i.e. Marauder's Carapace and Marauder's Treads) plus Zoey's Secret belt, resulting in a sizable increase of your Toughness. Unfortunately this will lead to difficulties in monster management, as your pets will block pathing and draw unnecessary attention. Only resort to this itemization alternative if you really struggle with survival.
Gearing towards Resource Cost Reduction and considering the Blood Vengeance passive are no coincidences; to maintain the Aquila Cuirass legendary bonus, you have to remain above the 90-95% resource mark. As long as you keep up resource stability in these restrictively high values, this chest armor will reward you with 50% damage reduction.
The feet slot will be taken by the Illusory Boots; a staple support piece that provides valuable freedom of movement, allowing you to ignore enemy collision and Waller affixes. Illusory Boots enable you to conserve Vault for the Elusive Ring buff and control over an established big fight, and simply run through monsters in the meantime. Further in its favor, it is an Act II specific cache legendary item, making farming and maximizing this piece relatively easy compared to other pieces.
Tasked with increasing damage rather than dealing any, the support Demon Hunter can focus on pure utility in the jewelry. Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac is a powerful tool for cooldown resets, and you will provide permanent uptime of Wolf Companion through the constant Grenade and Multishot spam. In your remaining slot, you can take the revamped Oculus Ring — it now provides up to the impressive 85% multiplicative damage buff in a circular area for your DPS party members to stand in (while its wording is vague, it does trigger off assists, and will thus work on support characters).
To complete the jewelry, you have a number of options for the amulet slot. Arguably your best pick would be a well rolled Hellfire Amulet of Dexterity, with a helpful fifth passive like Hot Pursuit. Alternatively, you can obtain an immunity amulet for a highly lethal source of elemental damage. Xephirian Amulet, which renders you immune to lightning, or The Star of Azkaranth against fire, are the most desirable options. In the stats aim for Crit Chance, high Toughness and an open Socket.
The preferred weapon for the build is the tanky Fortress Ballista, which adds a massive, 30% max life shield sustainable through attacks. Fortress Ballista's companion in the offhand is the Bombardier's Rucksack quiver, whose legendary power will allow you to spread two additional Guardian Turrets over the course of every significant fight — offering significantly better coverage and flexibility on the battlefield.
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.
- Esoteric Alteration is one of the strongest sources of elemental mitigation, bringing a welcome Toughness improvement to this frontline build. Increasing your elemental resistances with every gem level, as well as providing you with a near-impenetrable last line of defense through the level 25 property, Esoteric Alteration pulls you through the vast majority of elite affix damage spikes.
- Iceblink serves a twofold purpose: first, it adds a potent, scaling slow effect to the simple chill from Wind Chill; and second, it offers a reliable source of 10% additional group-wide Crit Chance through its level 25 property.
- The recommended gem for your third and final jewelry slot is Gem of Efficacious Toxin, for the party-wide damage increase against — and reduced damage from — enemies affected by its poisonous DoT.
|Torso and Pants||
- The recommended item for the weapon slot is Solanium, whose Health Globe on Crit bonuses will feed nicely into Globe-reliant bonuses for your DPS teammates, such as the Gruesome Feast passive for Witch Doctors.
- Stored in the Cube, Nemesis Bracers will speed up any run by allowing you an additional elite at every pylon in Greater Rifts. It should be noted that this slot is interchangeable with Wraps of Clarity, depending on your better rolled item.
- The jewelry slot will be taken up by the Elusive Ring, a Patch 2.4 addition that reduces incoming damage by 60% after casting a mobility skill. You will be keeping this vital bonus up with a Vault at least once every 8 seconds.
- 22 Oct. 2016: Build is no longer competitive.
- 30 Jul. 2016: Revised the guide to its 2.4.2 skill and item changes.
- 04 May 2016: Updated the build to its 2.4.1 skill and item changes.
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