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The Rat Is Dead: Long Live the Demon Hunter Speed Meta

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The XP/paragon farming meta is changing this season, as the extremely popular Rat runs are no longer the top dog and Demon Hunters are taking on Necromancers for the throne. We have our own guide writer Impact taking us through all the details, from the start, through the Haedrig's set and on to the actual group compositions and builds for the optimal group XP runs in the endgame!

 

    The Rat Run

    For many seasons now the “Rat Run” has held the top spot of being the most efficient and best group composition for farming XP in d3. “Rat Runs” refer to the 3x Necromancer and 1x Barbarian group composition that focuses on the two supports spawning as many health globes as possible so that the two DPS Necromancers, using Reaper's WrapsReaper's Wraps, can pick them up for quick essence gain. This enables them to continuously summon full essence Skeletal MageSkeletal MageSingularitySingularity for insane damage potential early on. They  get their name from the Rathma set that Necromancers have, which boosts their Skeletal Mage damage. Over time the build has evolved into using the Legacy of DreamsLegacy of Dreams gem instead for even higher damage potential, but the name stuck. These runs were so off the charts efficient that no other group composition could ever come close to touching them, until now. With the nerfs to Reapers’ Wraps in Season 21 through a 2 second cooldown, the Necromancer has been dethroned. In its place, the Demon Hunter rises.

    Demon Hunters Arrive

    Season 21 is the season of the Demon Hunter.After many long seasons of the Necromancer and “Rat Runs” reigning supreme in the XP grinding meta, the DH is here to take the throne. For those of you planning out your season start, if you are looking to be the most optimal that you can be, then you should be looking to maximize efficiency in whatever you will spend the most time. During a season start, your time playing can generally be broken down into three stages.

    1. Leveling 1-70
    2. Starter build at 70 with Haedrig’s Gift
    3. End-game build

    While Necromancer is still far and away the best class in the game for a swift 1-70 leveling process, level 70 is where the Demon Hunter will truly take over. Demon Hunters get access to the Shadow’s Mantle set this season, allowing them to access the Impale build as a starter build. The Impale build has a huge multiplier baked into the 2-set for the build, allowing you to start dishing out huge number straight out of the gate. You also can upgrade level 70 rare daggers in your Kanai’s Cube which has a 50% chance to get a Karlei's PointKarlei's Point, providing yet another easily accessible multiplier to the build and the best weapon that you will want to use. Finally, if you save your challenge rift bloodshards until level 34, you can try to roll quivers which gives you a 25% chance to get a Holy Point ShotHoly Point Shot when you roll a legendary quiver. If you do get lucky, you can easily jump straight into t8 or higher once you get your 2pc bonus, giving you a huge start at 70.
     

    The Endgame Build

    Demon Hunters up to this point are arguably the best class, but now we get to where you will spend most of your time in Diablo: your end-game build. It is fun to optimize your season start and getting good builds early is great, but regardless of how you start you can always get to an end-game build within a couple of days, or even within the first day if you are lucky enough. For Demon Hunters, that means playing the GoD Hungering Arrow build.

    Once you have your end-game build, you should be able to clear t16 Nephalem Rifts without much trouble. This means your main source of progression will be in greater rifts. Once you have your full set of correct pieces in your end-game build, your main source of power progression is going to come from farming ancient pieces, getting gem upgrades, and farming XP for paragon levels. The last two specifically are done primarily in greater rifts. With an optimized 4-man group, you can clear higher greater rift levels, much higher than you would be able to achieve solo early on in a season. This enables you to rack up the paragon levels, with some of the more optimized groups even reaching 1000 paragon within the first 24 hours of a season launch. This XP farming meta is where Demon Hunter really shines this season. The optimized 4-man group for farming XP consists of the following:

    1. 1x Support Barbarian
    2. 1x Support Demon Hunter
    3. 2x GoD Hungering Arrow Demon Hunters

    The true power of this group lies within the Support Demon Hunter. Thanks to the update to Leonine Bow of HashirLeonine Bow of Hashir, your BolasBolas will not instantly explode, pulling in enemies within 24 yards into one spot. The DH can speed through the rift due to the movement speed that the GoD 4 piece bonus brings along with Smoke ScreenSmoke Screen, creating large, dense groupings of enemies ahead of the support Barbarian and Hungering Arrow DHs. You map out the rift for your team, create nice density of enemies through your Bolas, and then spin on top of the groups using Entangling ShotEntangling Shot and Odyssey's EndOdyssey's End to put a 150% damage amplification on every enemy you hit. This is the single largest support buff that any class in the game can give, making DH an incredibly strong support early on when you need the extra damage.

    The support Barbarian is there to do their normal job helping to toss elites onto the packs for better positioning for Area Damage, while also using all of theirs shouts and the 2 pc HotNS for double effectiveness. Finally, your two GoD DH’s can spin around without stopping, utilizing Blood VengeanceBlood Vengeance for all their hatred generation so they do not have to stop channeling StrafeStrafe.

     

    The true devastating damage potential of this group comp lies within the innate damage that the GoD Hungering ArrowHungering Arrow set provides. Thanks to your Devouring ArrowDevouring Arrow rune, your arrows will gain exponential damage each time they pierce enemies, but can pierce infinitely, only limited by the number of targets you have grouped. The crazy grouping potential that your two supports bring allows your arrows to pierce huge numbers of targets, which means your damage scales more than most classes would even without accounting for Area Damage.

    The GoD Hungering Arrow Demon Hunter build is the best solo-pushing build this season, and the insanely high base movement speed that the build offers without any support items allows you to build for full damage while still moving fast enough to do speed clears without missing a beat. While other speed compositions often must sacrifice damage for better mobility and speed, the Demon Hunters will never need to make that trade. You can abuse the base mobility that the build offers, building full damage, and push higher greater rift levels than any other group composition would ever allow for speed clears.

    If your goal is to be as optimal as possible in Season 21 with a group, you need to be playing the Demon Hunter meta to abuse it for all it is worth.
     

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    Guess I'll give the DH a spin then.
    I suppose that a 'best' leveling kanai's legendary from first challenge rift would be a Dagger then?

    Edited by Koxsos
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    25 minutes ago, Koxsos said:

    Guess I'll give the DH a spin then.
    I suppose that a 'best' leveling kanai's legendary from first challenge rift would be a Dagger then?

    Yes, DH only has 2 dagger options and they're both big amplifiers, can't go wrong really.

    Edited by Yojiro
    • Like 1

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    1 hour ago, Koxsos said:

    Guess I'll give the DH a spin then.
    I suppose that a 'best' leveling kanai's legendary from first challenge rift would be a Dagger then?

    I see what you did there, even if you don't!

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    13 hours ago, SidonisAntares said:

    Oh great, now its going to be called GOD RUNS, yay egos

    Yeah, why not use the same logic as when dubbing rhatma into rat, this way we should go for Gears into 'Gar'
    Gar runs!

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    4 hours ago, Koxsos said:

    Yeah, why not use the same logic as when dubbing rhatma into rat, this way we should go for Gears into 'Gar'
    Gar runs!

    Richard Rahl approves this message.

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    On 7/2/2020 at 4:33 PM, Yojiro said:

    Yes, DH only has 2 dagger options and they're both big amplifiers, can't go wrong really.

    image.thumb.png.4200e809e4ce916f31b5673d079bbaf8.png

    it went too well actually. I don't wanna cube it now =D

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    3 hours ago, Koxsos said:

    it went too well actually. I don't wanna cube it now =D

    Hehe, I got pretty lucky too, my free primal from 70 rift was Dawn 😕

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    Honestly after giving it a spin, build seems to fall short of even the impale build I farmed it up with. Especially in terms of adjustable durability. I understand this is probably because it scales better with the infinite dexterity expected from the group farming.

    I suppose the hungering arrow scaling benefits insanely from stacked mobs packs in group environment. But not so much outside it.
    And there is also the inevitable fact that I am doing it wrong.
    Edit: yup, was losing too many momentum stacks and not refreshing them properly, figures GR100 is easy afterwards 😄

    Edited by Koxsos

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