Havoc Demon Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Dragonflight 10.0.2
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Havoc Demon Hunter in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.0.2.
Havoc Demon Hunter Rotation
Welcome to our Rotation page for Havoc Demon Hunters. Here we go over the details of how to play the spec in PvE scenarios in detail.
If the rotations below seem overwhelming to you, it might be better to start by visiting our Easy Mode page, which lays out a starter build to get to grips with everything before moving on to more advanced sections.
The content on this page is purely PvE-related. If you are looking for PvP-oriented tips, please visit our PvP page below.
Single-Target Rotation for Havoc Demon Hunter
Havoc's single-target rotation hinges strongly on the combination of generation (either through active tools such as Demon's Bite or talents like Demon Blades) and your main spender, Chaos Strike. Past this, depending on talents, other spells enter into the priority adding depth, making it important to manage both your resource and your other spell cooldowns.
Use the below switches to tailor the rotation around the talents or situations you expect to be using, and it will populate the rotation priority list appropriately:
|Active Talents||Passive Talents|
|Felblade + Demon Blades||Blind Fury|
|Essence Break||Chaotic Transformation|
|Glaive Tempest||Soulrend + Furious Throws|
|Elysian Decree||Unbound Chaos|
|Sigil of Flame||Momentum|
- Cast Death Sweep on cooldown.
- Cast Annihilation if at 40 Fury or above.
- Cast Immolation Aura.
- Cast Chaos Strike if at 40 Fury or above.
Bear in mind that, no matter whether you take Demonic or not, you will still be casting Eye Beam in single-target situations. It remains a highly efficient Fury spender, but beware of upcoming add spawns, so as not to waste damage in AoE situations.
With regards to Fel Rush, it is a very valuable tool to generate damage in the empty global cooldowns created by Demon Blades, so long as you can remain within auto-attack range. Otherwise, using this is generally considered a slight loss, as it wastes partial global cooldowns that could be spent on generating or spending Fury.
AoE Rotation for Havoc Demon Hunter
In AoE, Havoc's rotation changes very little. Most of the high-priority abilities come with cooldowns and naturally cleave on their own. This means you will largely be playing the same way, but with an increased value on making sure you have buttons available for when additional targets are present. The only thing of note is that Sigil of Flame becomes a much higher priority as an actual DPS button, though you should generally pre-cast it or aim to not overcap fury from it still.
This means that you need to make sure that you do not waste a cast of Eye Beam on one target, for example, if there is about to be a new wave of adds spawning briefly after. This extends to other AoE abilities, such as Glaive Tempest, Fel Barrage, and, to a lesser extent, Blade Dance. Making sure to pay more attention to your cooldown timers, so you can comfortably line these up without wasting uses, will net a huge boost to your AoE damage.
Opening Rotation for Havoc Demon Hunter
- Pre-cast Sigil of Flame
- Cast Immolation Aura as you enter combat
- Cast Felblade to engage from a range if needed.
- Cast Eye Beam to trigger Metamorphosis via Demonic.
- Cast Essence Break
- Cast Death Sweep
- Cast Metamorphosis.
- Cast Death Sweep
- Cast Annihilation
- Cast Eye Beam.
- Continue with Single Target Rotation.
The two casts following Metamorphosis are to make use of the Chaotic Transformation effect to trigger the reset on both abilities. Any points where you need additional Fury in this sequence can be replaced by Felblade or Demon's Bite(If talented to have it), proceeding down the list until these abilities are all cooling down.
Havoc Demon Hunter Cooldowns: Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis is a 24-second duration buff on a 4-minute cooldown, with a flat 20% increase to Haste allowing for more ability uses while active. Pooling 100 Fury or above before entering Metamorphosis is extremely beneficial to allow for a surge of Annihilation casts, and draining excess Fury in the last 5 seconds of the buff will lead to the most efficient conversion of resource into damage during this period.
See our addons and macros page for a Metamorphosis macro.
For information about Mythic+ as a Havoc Demon Hunter and the rotation you need to use in this game mode, please refer to our Mythic+ page.
Optional Read: Notes on Optimizing Havoc Demon Hunter
Notes on Build Synergy
Havoc has a lot of talents that link up with each other in a strong way, usually having one pick having a powerful interaction with another elsewhere on the tier. Examples of this are Felblade paired with Demon Blades; Initiative, Unbound Chaos, and Momentum together; or finally Furious Throws, Accelerating Blade, and Soulrend. In many cases, the talents enable each other and should not be run alone, but for more information on the specifics, please refer to our talent page.
Gate 1 Important Talent Notes
First Blood converts Blade Dance to Chaos Damage on your primary target and increases the damage it deals by an additional 75% on that target. Blade dance is always used rotationally in all situations with this talent.
Felblade taken for the consistent access to an easy to pick up fury generator.
Gate 2 Important Talents Notes
Demonic is a damage boost window effect. It will naturally be triggered by your Eye Beam casts rotationally. Making sure to fill as many Global Cooldowns during the 6 seconds as possible with Fury spenders is crucial. Priming Immolation Aura or Tactical Retreat if talented before you trigger the window is great to set up some background generation. Try to minimize the number of committal generation tools such as Demon's Bite if possible. In some cases though, RNG simply stops that happening.
Unbound Chaos provides a strong single-target option as well as good, uncapped burst AoE assuming the encounter allows for its use. Due to the positional requirements, this is not always realistic but makes for a very powerful Fel Rush cast following each Immolation Aura; so is a great pick when played correctly.
Initiative gives a good amount of Critical Strike when starting to fight new mobs, or adds on a given fight. In cases where the movement allows utilizing it with Vengeful Retreat provides Critical Strike for your high damage windows.
Burning Wound will passively be applied to your target when talented into Demon Blades or can be applied via Throw Glaive. Either works but you should attempt to always maintain your maximum of 3 DoTs.
Gate 3 Important Talents Notes
Know Your Enemy increases your critical strike damage based on your Critical Strike chance, changing for the stat scales for you.
Essence Break Does a heavy amount of Chaos damage to all enemies in a cone in front of you and applies a 4-second debuff increasing the damage of Chaos Strike and Blade Dance by 80%. You should always have Blade Dance ready to be cast right after Essence break as your highest priority, with residual fury to cast Chaos Strike after.
Shattered Destiny extends your active Metamorphosis or Demonic window based on fury spent, letting you have more time with your haste increase and empowered abilities greatly increasing Single Target damage.
Any Means Necessary converts all magic damage your abilities deal to Chaos damage making your Mastery scale up their damage, mostly used as a large AoE DPS increase.
Soulrend, when taken with the other paired Throw Glaive talents, leaves a large DoT tuning Throw Glaive into a rotational button on both Single Target and AoE scenarios.
Momentum This talent is a very high skill cap option and, as such, if you are not comfortable with Demon Hunter and raid mechanics in general, it will be very punishing. Knowing when to use your charges, and when to bank them to use both in conjunction for the buff and to avoid mechanics or stay on targets at the same time is a skill that needs to be practiced. Below is an image to show the optimal paths to use your activation skills to stay on target and minimise possible displacement that can have a large knock-on effect.
With Momentum, three different effects are triggered by your mobility abilities due to the required talents taken:
- Fel Rush with two charges on 10-second recharge grants 5 seconds of 8% increased damage;
- Vengeful Retreat on a 20-second cooldown that generates 80 Fury over 10 seconds when it damages an enemy, and resets the ability to proc Initiative for 12% Critical Strike chance.
There are some fundamental rules when using Momentum to bear in mind during combat. First, the spells that activate Momentum do benefit from the buff they trigger. You should aim to never clip a Momentum window, and instead aim for maximum uptime. You should still ideally attempt to spread your windows out to make sure you are spending as few Global Cooldowns as possible on generation during the 5 seconds it is active. This means you should aim to enter into a window with 80-120 Fury. You can also trigger passive Fury generation tools, such as Immolation Aura and Vengeful Retreat's Fury effect, before triggering the damage window to sustain yourself during the 5 seconds.
Core Concepts for Havoc Demon Hunters
Movement Abilities and Talents
One of the unique features of Havoc is that it can leverage its movement tools in Fel Rush and Vengeful Retreat to increase your damage output and Fury generation with certain talents. Managing this is important if these have been selected, and knowing whether it is safe to use them based on encounter types is especially important.
You can maneuver with Vengeful Retreat in one of two different ways. The first of these is a wall that you can consistently leap back into so that the displacement effect is muted and you remain in melee range of your target. Alternatively, the more consistent option is rotating your character before casting 90 degrees, so that you will move across the back of the target's hitbox, and remain in range upon landing against any reasonably sized target. Do note that at all times, this spell will vault you backwards, so you need to be aware of that when casting.
Fel Rush in much the same way requires a similar awareness of your environment to capitalise upon. Instead of focusing on moving backwards, however, you need to face the direction you want to rush and then turn back to your target when you arrive.
Both of these spells incur a 1-second movement cooldown to prevent you from using them to cancel each other's displacement effect out with animation canceling, and as such you need to treat each cast individually and prepare for the movement to minimize the downsides.
With Havoc being so reliant on its resource, you need to be very aware of situations that encourage spending vs. the requirement to build. The general rule is you never want to go into the range of wasting Fury due to going over the cap with a generator cast. This means the spend breakpoint is 90 Fury without talents, due to Demon's Bite having a potential maximum of 30 per cast. With Demon Blades this is more flexible, but given how fast multiple procs can happen, it is preferable to be spending more aggressively when not pooling for burst windows.
When playing Demonic Appetite that orbs will often spawn outside of the immediate range of your character, meaning that you can hold them until you are at a point where Fury starvation sets in. This means you can have a good catch-up tool, assuming that there are not any dangerous mechanics that would prevent you from grabbing the orbs at a later moment.
Remember to adjust your rotation based on refunds from your Chaos Strike casts that refund 20 Fury due to the unexpected additional resources in your pool. In the same vein, when talented successful interrupts through Disrupt and dispels using Consume Magic that grant 30 and 20 Fury respectively can also provide extra resources that you may need to spend aggressively to make use of. For Consume Magic and Disrupt macros, please refer to our macro page.
Fury Management with Demon Blades
When using Demon Blades, your Fury management is altered to account for the more sporadic nature of the generation. In single-target, more appropriate rotational rules to adjust the original priority look like this (keep in mind these are un-ordered notes and simply small things that can help to improve your gameplay):
- Cast Chaos Strike/ Annihilation as frequently as possible unless pooling for burst windows.
- Cast Felblade as frequently as possible, as long as you are below 80 Fury, as your active generation tool.
- Wait and allow Demon Blades to generate Fury again to continue the cycle.
- Cast Throw Glaive and Fel Rush if out of range of any targets, or in empty Globals.
- 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
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