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Starym

Vengeance Demon Hunter in the Shadowlands: Spec Highlights and Class Recommendations

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Update: the Vengeance pre-patch guide is ready and you can check it out here:
Vengeance Demon Hunter Shadowlands Guide

It's time for Demon Hunters to enter the stage in our spec highlights series, and the second tank class to be featured as well. Vengeance didn't quite get the decent/solid treatment Protection Warrior did, and we have Excidias here to cover what's happened. The focus is on general changes, talents and Covenants this time around, so let's get to it!

Exciting Changes for Vengeance Demon Hunters in Shadowlands

Due to Demon Hunter being a relatively new class that was added to the game, the great un-pruning didn't affect the class as much as others. The majority of the changes are found in the talent tree. Anyone familiar with Vengeance in BFA will feel right at home with the Shadowlands play style. 
 

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General Changes

  • Pain has been renamed to Fury.
  • Souls heal for 6% total damage instead of 8%.
  • Fel Devastation Fel Devastation is baseline with a 1 minute cooldown and 50 fury cost.
  • Revel in Pain Revel in Pain is a new passive at level 58. When Fiery Brand Fiery Brand  expires, player gains a shield for 15 seconds based on the damage afflicted to the primary target.
  • Soul Cleave Soul Cleave is capped at 5 targets.


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Talent Builds

There are currently two separate builds on the Beta. The first build is very similar to live, focusing on Spirit Bomb Spirit Bomb for damage. The second build is built purely for survival and maximizing Fiery Brand Fiery Brand up time. There are small variations that may be warranted (ex. using Feed the Demon Feed the Demon instead of Fracture Fracture) based on the content. Complete talent changes listed below.
 

1. Abyssal Strike Abyssal Strike  / Fallout Fallout  / Spirit Bomb Spirit Bomb / Fracture Fracture Sigil of Chains Sigil of Chains   Demonic DemonicLast Resort Last Resort

  • Pros:
    • Standard build that veteran players will instantly recognize and pick up.
    • Spirit Bomb Spirit Bomb is not capped to 5 targets (Soul Cleave Soul Cleave is capped at 5 targets) so scales well based on number of targets.
    • Spirit Bomb Spirit Bomb does more damage than Soul Cleave Soul Cleave  and is fire damage so it isn't mitigated by armor.
  • Cons:
    • Lower up time of mitigation can cause windows of vulnerability. This may require tank swaps or kiting to survive higher Mythic+ keys.
       

2. Agonizing Flames Agonizing FlamesBurning Alive Burning AliveCharred Flesh Charred FleshFeed the Demon Feed the DemonSigil of Chains Sigil of ChainsDemonic DemonicLast Resort Last Resort

  • Pros:
  • Cons:
    • Lower damage which can result in threat issues
    • Soul Cleave Soul Cleave is capped at 5 targets which can cause issues pulling more than 5.
       

Complete Talent Changes

  • Tier 15
  • Tier 25
    • Feast of Souls Feast of Souls Talent remains the same as BFA. Provides a low amount of healing over time after Soul Cleave Soul Cleave .
    • Fallout FalloutTalent remains the same as BFA. There is a 60% chance to rip a soul off of an enemy (up to 5 souls) for each target hit with Immolation Aura Immolation Aura.
    • Burning Alive Burning Alive Talent remains the same as BFA. Fiery Brand Fiery Brand will spread to an additional target after 2 seconds.
  • Tier 30
    • Infernal Armor Infernal Armor Talent improves Immolation Aura Immolation Aura by providing 20% additional armor and causes melee attackers to receive fire damage. The armor provided by the talent will work with other armor increasing abilities.
    • Charred Flesh Charred Flesh : Talent increases the duration of Fiery Brand Fiery Brand by 0.5 seconds for each tick of Immolation Aura Immolation Aura.
    • Spirit Bomb Spirit BombThis has not changed in functionality but it has moved up several talent rows. The talent consumes up to 5 souls and deals fire damage to any enemy around the player for each soul consumed. This ability is not target capped.
  • Tier 35
    • Soul Rending Soul RendingTalent remains the same as BFA. Player gains 5% passive leech and an additional 25% leech during Metamorphosis Metamorphosis.
    • Feed the Demon Feed the Demon Talent remains the same as BFA. The cooldown of Demon Spikes Demon Spikes is lowered by 0.5 seconds for each soul consumed.
    • Fracture Fracture Talent remains the same as BFA. Fracture replaces Shear Shear . Slashes the target twice producing two souls. Two charges.
  • Tier 40
    • Concentrated Sigils Concentrated Sigils Talent remains the same as BFA. Duration of sigils is increased by 2 seconds and they drop at the player's location.
    • Quickened Sigils Quickened SigilsTalent remains the same as BFA. All sigils activate 1 second faster and the duration is decreased by 20%.
    • Sigil of Chains Sigil of ChainsTalent remains the same as BFA. Sigil pulls and snares all targets within it after 2 seconds.
  • Tier 45
    • Void Reaver Void Reaver Talent remains the same as BFA but was moved from Tier 50. Enemies struck by Soul Cleave Soul Cleave will deal 6% less damage.
    • Demonic Demonic New talent. Fel Devastation Fel Devastation causes the player to enter demon form for 6 seconds after the cast finishes.
    • Soul Barrier Soul Barrier Talent remains the same as BFA but was moved from Tier 50. Shields player for 12 seconds. Any additional souls consumed during barrier will increase the amount of the shield. 
  • Tier 50
    • Last Resort Last Resort Talent remains the same as BFA. When sustaining fatal damage, transform into Metamorphosis Metamorphosis instead.
    • Ruinous Bulwark Ruinous Bulwark New talent. Fel Devastation Fel Devastation heals for an additional 15% and 50% of overhealing is converted into a shield for 10 seconds.
    • Bulk Extraction Bulk Extraction New talent. Deal fire damage to any targets around the player while extracting up to 5 souls. Souls are instantly consumed.
       

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Covenants

  • Kyrian
    • Elysian Decree Elysian Decree Places a sigil that activates after 2 seconds. Deals arcane damage and shatters up to 3 souls. 60 second cooldown.
  • Necrolord
    • Fodder to the Flame Fodder to the Flame Summon a demon to fight. Once vanquished, the demon's soul is released and a pool of demon blood spawns that lasts for 30 seconds. Fighting within the pool increases attack speed by 20% and reduces the damage received by 10%. 2 minute cooldown.
  • Venthyr
    • Sinful Brand Sinful BrandBrand an enemy with the mark of the Venthyr, reducing their melee attack speed by 30%, casting speed by 30%, and inflicting shadow damage over 8 seconds. Activating Metamorphosis Metamorphosis applies Sinful Brand to all nearby targets. 60 second cooldown.
  • Night Fae
    • The Hunt The HuntCharge the target, striking them for nature damage, rooting them in place for 3 seconds and inflicting additional nature damage over 6 seconds to any target in the path. Heal for a percentage of damage dealt to the hunt target over 60 seconds. 1.5 minute cooldown.
       

Vengeance and the Covenant Choice

With the current tuning, Vengeance Demon Hunter has low damage with their base kit. Sinful Brand Sinful Brand is doing roughly a third of the overall damage which is basically forcing Venthyr as the right choice for all the content. The Hunt The Hunt was performing decently and could be more fun to play with, and Elysian Decree Elysian Decree is affected by legendaries that affect sigils. Unless tuning occurs, Venthyr is the mandatory choice based on performance alone.
 

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Conclusion

Vengeance is a fun tank to play but it still suffers from mitigation up time. Demon Spikes Demon Spikes and Metamorphosis Metamorphosis up time is much lower than other tanks relative up time of their respective mitigation. This disadvantage can be seen in any fight where tanks don't switch or in Mythic+. Kiting will have to be an option in higher keys when mitigation is down, assuming the monsters allow for kiting. The overall damage of the spec is also lower than most tanks. Sinful Brand Sinful Brand provides a large DPS increase and is deemed borderline essential, a must have purely based on the damage output. Like the previous expansions, Vengeance will be stuck in a standard cookie cutter build with very few variations. 

Overall, Vengeance will still be the same fun tank that it has been since Legion. It is currently sitting around the middle to lower end of all tanks due to the tank tuning that occurred on September 9th. 

 

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Other Spec Highlights:

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I would of been happier for a 15-20% nerf instead of a 50% that Blizzard implemented.  But stat priority will be key along with a selection of Legendaries to choose that will probably dictate on my playstyle.  The Covenant ability The Hunt was not that appealing to me as Vengeance but the Kyrian and Venthyr abilities I could work with.  Just have to wait and see what more information will come along on the final forms of tuning before SL is released.  

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