Havoc Demon Hunter DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Havoc Demon Hunter in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.
Talent Choices for Havoc Demon Hunter
|15||✓ Blind Fury||✓ Demonic Appetite||? Felblade|
|25||? Insatiable Hunger||✓ Burning Hatred||✓ Demon Blades|
|30||✓ Trail of Ruin||✓ Unbound Chaos||? Glaive Tempest|
|35||? Soul Rending||? Desperate Instincts||? Netherwalk|
|40||✓ Cycle of Hatred||✓ First Blood||✗ Essence Break|
|45||? Unleashed Power||? Master of the Glaive||? Fel Eruption|
|50||✓ Demonic||? Momentum||✗ Fel Barrage|
Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.
Talent Cheat Sheet for Havoc Demon Hunters
During the Shadowlands pre-patch, a lot of leftover power from Azerite and Essences remain which influence which talents are doing well. Havoc has a lot of choices available to them that are dependent on fight types, so the ability to execute some talents can be limited. Talents listed below are easy options on the left against more difficult but superior options on the right.
- Level 15: Blind Fury / Demonic Appetite
- Level 25: Burning Hatred / Demon Blades
- Level 30: Trail of Ruin / Unbound Chaos
- Level 35: Soul Rending
- Level 40: First Blood / Cycle of Hatred
- Level 45: Player's Choice
- Level 50: Demonic
All of the talents on the left provide the easiest access to increases without compromising on difficulty that can be caused by movement in a fight. Demonic Appetite, Demon Blades, and Unbound Chaos will perform the best in a vacuum, but situations that make it difficult to move in an encounter will hurt their output significantly so your choice should be based around that.
While the build listed above will cover most bases, it may not provide the whole story on specific encounters within a raid tier for when each is appropriate. If you are looking for a boss-by-boss breakdown of choices, you can go to our dedicated raid page.
Mythic+ often needs a mixture of different damage types provided by DPS, depending on variables such as weekly affixes or composition. If you want specific Mythic+ advice, you can check our page here.
How To Use Havoc Demon Hunter Talents
Most of the Havoc talents require some mix-up in your rotation when selected to make ideal use of them. You can find more tailored information on how each of these affect your gameplay on our rotation page.
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Havoc Demon Hunter
|✔ Blind Fury||✔ Demonic Appetite||? Felblade|
Tier 1 talents provide both ways of augmenting your Fury generation and your damage output.
- Blind Fury Increases the channel time and number of Eye Beam ticks by 50%, and causes it to generate 40 Fury every second.
- Demonic Appetite grants Chaos Strike a chance to spawn a Lesser Soul Fragment with a 6 RPPM (scaling with Haste), and consuming any Soul Fragment generates 30 Fury.
- Felblade grants an additional active ability causing you to charge at your target, dealing Fire damage and generating 40 Fury. Demon's Bite and Demon Blades hits have a 20% chance to reset the cooldown. This has a 15-yard range and a 15-second cooldown.
All 3 of these options have different profiles for encounters and content, so your pick depends on what you are doing.
Demonic Appetite provides the most well rounded option if using the Azerite trait Eyes of Rage, which still functions in the pre-patch. This both increases the frequency and damage of your Eye Beam casts (and by extension Furious Gaze windows), and provides consistent Fury gains. The only downside is it relies on your ability to collect souls, which can sometimes be difficult to do. This is recommended in most cases, assuming you have the gear setup to do so. For more information about Azerite, please refer to our dedicated page.
Blind Fury is the easiest to pull off and provides the biggest boost to your burst AoE. It provides a good bump to your Fury generation too, if played around correctly, so if you feel you cannot effectively play with it, Demonic Appetite is the best alternative.
For more information regarding how these talents affect your rotation, please refer to the Tier 1 talent section of our rotation page.
Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents for Havoc Demon Hunter
|? Insatiable Hunger||✔ Burning Hatred||✔ Demon Blades|
Tier 2 talents grant additional Fury generation tools.
- Insatiable Hunger increases the damage of your Demon's Bite casts, and causes it to generate an additional 5-10 Fury.
- Burning Hatred causes your Immolation Aura to generate an additional 60 Fury over 12 seconds when cast.
- Demon Blades alters Demon's Bite which it replaces, adding a proc that has a 60% chance to activate from auto attacks. This deals additional Shadow damage and generating 12-20 Fury.
Burning Hatred is the easiest option to use that has the most consistent Fury generation. Given that you will always be using Immolation Aura on cooldown, this basically amounts to 60 free Fury every 30 seconds, scaling up with Haste as the cooldown reduces.
Demon Blades works very well especially at higher gear levels due to the Haste rating many players are at during the pre-patch. It also makes a good pairing with Felblade due to the reset synergy. The global cooldowns this opens up by causing generation to occur passively can allow for more aggressive spender use.
Insatiable Hunger serves as the easiest option in the row for the absolute most basic gains in Fury, but given you want to spend as little time as possible casting Demon's Bite, this is a pick for situations where you need more sustained Fury but cannot stick to a target to make use of Demon Blades.
For more information regarding how these talents affect your rotation, please refer to the Tier 2 talent section of our rotation page.
Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents for Havoc Demon Hunter
|✔ Trail of Ruin||✔ Unbound Chaos||? Glaive Tempest|
Tier 3 talents enhance your AoE damage tools.
- Trail of Ruin causes the final hit of Blade Dance to deal additional Chaos damage to targets hit over 4 seconds.
- Unbound Chaos causes each activation of Immolation Aura to grant Inner Demons, making your next Fel Rush cast trigger a Demon to spawn, dealing massive Chaos damage to all targets at the end of your path.
- Glaive Tempest grants an additional active ability, dealing heavy Chaos damage over 3 seconds in an 8-yard area around you when cast. Costs 30 Fury, and has a 20-second cooldown (reduced by Haste).
Unbound Chaos has the highest potential on this row by far, due to its high damage per Immolation Aura cast, the ability to bank a charge, and being uncapped AoE. That said, it does require you to play around Fel Rush as an active damage tool to expend each charge to pull off. This will provide explosive AoE burst assuming you can make that check.
Trail of Ruin serves as the more versatile and consistent alternative if you make sure to pair it with First Blood which keeps it in the single-target rotation. This DoT is capped at 5 targets, but is a lot harder to make mistakes with, due to it having no opportunity cost, nor fight design requirements, so will often find use.
Glaive Tempest deals a very high burst of damage when cast, but does come at the cost of Fury. It is also stationary, meaning that if you misplace it or enemies are moved, it immediately loses value. These downsides and that its damage struggles to pull even with the two alternatives outside of high Haste levels make it a niche pick currently, but could see play as an alternate burst AoE tool in Shadowlands.
Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents for Havoc Demon Hunter
|? Soul Rending||? Desperate Instincts||? Netherwalk|
Tier 4 talents augment your survivability tools.
- Soul Rending grants you 5% Leech, and an additional 25% whenever you are in a Metamorphosis state.
- Desperate Instincts increases the damage reduction of Blur by 10%, raising it to 20%, and causes it to automatically trigger when you fall below 35% health for its regular effect. This cannot occur if it is already on cooldown.
- Netherwalk grants an additional ability that grants you 100% additional movement speed and immunity to damage for 5 seconds, but you are pacified for the duration. This has a 3-minute cooldown.
As this is a defensive tier the choice you make is mostly context specific on what you need for the encounter, or find most comfortable to play with.
Soul Rending is the default choice in most situations on this tier as it adds additional free healing, enhanced during your cooldown, alongside having good synergy with Demonic for extra uptime. This will rarely make or break an encounter, but it will make things much smoother for you when using it.
Desperate Instincts will rarely see use, due to the loss of control it causes over your primary defensive in Blur. The bonus reduction is nice, but not having it available due to an accidental proc is very dangerous.
Netherwalk provides a separate immunity tool that can be very useful if needed during an encounter, and is excellent if needed for mechanics or high damage intensity moments, and will likely continue to see use throughout Shadowlands. Remember though that this only ignores damage instances, and any debuffs applied will still go through the effect and remain after it ends.
Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Havoc Demon Hunter
|✔ Cycle of Hatred||✔ First Blood||✘ Essence Break|
Tier 5 talents give a variety of damage increasing effects.
- Cycle of Hatred causes Chaos Strike Fury refunds to also reduce the cooldown of Eye Beam by 3 seconds.
- First Blood reduces the cost of Blade Dance by 20 Fury and causes it to deal an additional 200% to the first target struck.
- Essence Break grants an additional active ability, dealing moderate Chaos damage to all targets in front of you and causing them to take an additional 40% damage from your Chaos Strike and Blade Dance for 8 seconds, with a 20-second cooldown.
Cycle of Hatred in the pre-patch has a lot of bonus power due to the leftover traits in Furious Gaze and Eyes of Rage. These combined let you generate a lot more uptime on these effects and your Demonic windows despite its reduced duration, and has a strong showing in single-target situations so is a strong pick.
First Blood is still consistently strong and is still a good pick at all times. This slots Blade Dance into the rotation and makes it a very low Fury, high damage ability that has uses in all styles of encounters.
Currently, Essence Break has a lot of potential when played around properly, but is significantly harder to execute. This can provide a very strong burst window when paired up with effects like Demonic or Momentum, but in the pre-patch, with Azerite and Essences remaining, the burden of execution is too high to beat out First Blood or Cycle of Hatred.
For more information regarding how these talents affect your rotation, please refer to the Tier 5 talent section of our rotation page.
Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Havoc Demon Hunter
|? Unleashed Power||? Master of the Glaive||? Fel Eruption|
Tier 6 talents provide situational tools.
- Unleashed Power removes the Fury cost of Chaos Nova and reduces its cooldown by 33%.
- Master of the Glaive grants Throw Glaive 2 charges, and all targets hit when cast are slowed by 50% for 6 seconds.
- Fel Eruption grants an additional active ability, dealing light Chaos damage to your target and stunning them for 4 seconds, with a 20-yard range, 30-second cooldown and costing 10 Fury.
All three options here are utility choices that can have benefits depending on the content you are currently doing and the tools most desirable.
Unleashed Power can be taken in circumstances that require more frequent AoE stuns, alongside the added bonus of removing the Fury cost. Master of the Glaive allows for additional damage when out of range and giving access to a slow if needed. Fel Eruption grants you a point and click instant single-target stun which can be very useful for locking down a priority target, alongside dealing some free damage as well.
Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents for Havoc Demon Hunter
|✔ Demonic||? Momentum||✘ Fel Barrage|
Tier 7 talents grant additional burst windows to your rotation.
- Demonic causes Eye Beam to grant 6 seconds of your Metamorphosis form when the cast ends.
- Momentum causes Fel Rush to increase your damage by 15% for 6 seconds when cast. Vengeful Retreat also generates 80 Fury over 10 seconds if it hits at least one target, and has a 5-second reduced cooldown.
- Fel Barrage grants an additional active ability, dealing massive Chaos damage to up to 8 targets within 8 yards. This has a 3-second channel, and a 1-minute cooldown.
Demonic enhances your Eye Beam casts by granting a short burst of Metamorphosis, giving a 6-second window of high damage casts and additional Haste. Due to the pre-patch keeping effects like Furious Gaze, this stays extremely potent and the frequency increase from Eyes of Rage, paired with Demonic Appetite, is synergy that will stay relevant until Shadowlands launches. Due to it also triggering from abilities, you will be casting regardless in your rotation. While it has a high ceiling when played perfectly, it is very difficult to mess up, so is recommended at all times for the pre-patch.
Momentum grants a very flexible series of small burst windows after using movement tools that can either be combined, pooled together for extended windows, or spread out to cover each period of resource dumping. It has great AoE uses, but it is the most demanding of the 3 with little in terms of significant rewards, requiring you to be much more aware of positioning and resource management. Its greatest synergies are also with Unbound Chaos and Essence Break, that already have higher barriers to entry to begin with, making it a difficult talent to pull off, especially in the pre-patch, when it is competing with Demonic's synergistic design. Picking this is largely a challenge of if you are willing to deal with the shortcomings to optimize it.
Fel Barrage provides an additional high burst tool that functions extremely well in AoE situations, and while it comes with an opportunity cost due to being a channel, it can be leveraged for a lot of on-demand damage. This being moved to the last tier makes it a very hard talent to place, however, as it is significantly less flexible than the alternatives and often gets in the way of your rotation relative to the other options and has no synergy that can be built up from elsewhere in the tree.
For more information regarding how these talents affect your rotation, please refer to the Tier 7 talent section of our rotation page.
PvP Talents (War Mode)
"War Mode" is an optional feature that enables open world PvP encounters that confers some benefits when active:
- Grants access to PvP talents in the open world.
- 10% increase in World Quest rewards at max level.
- 10% more experience gained while leveling.
- Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.
With the benefits of War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended to enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will open yourself up to open world PvP, so be aware of hostile enemy players who could interfere with you, this is a risk you will have to decide on your own if you want take.
If you are interested in doing PvP as a Havoc Demon Hunter or just want to know the basics of Havoc PvP gameplay and decision making, check out our dedicated PvP guide.
PvP Talent from Conflict and Strife Essence
Conflict and Strife is an Azerite Essence that is unlocked by doing Rated PvP combat. This provides Havoc with the Demonic Origins PvP talent in all situations and content when equipped in the Major slot, and a stacking Versatility buff from the Minor effect. The Major may have some very niche uses in raid content, allowing you to possibly line up Metamorphosis with specific timing windows, and gaining extra value via Chaotic Transformation. This is generally still considered a fairly weak option compared to other Essences, however. See our Essence page for more information.
Havoc Demon Hunter War Mode Talents
In this section we will rank the PvP talents for leveling and playing in open world PvE scenarios. Note that in the Shadowlands update, the PvP crowd control reduction talents have been removed, and will be replaced by trinkets available at level 60.
Havoc Demon Hunter PvP Talents
Generally, the selections are made to optimize your ability to kill enemies faster, increasing your pace when moving through content.
- Demonic Origins allows for more liberal usage of Metamorphosis and lower wasted duration, alongside giving a flat damage boost whenever not transformed.
- Solitude is a great choice if doing solo content, boosting up your resource generation.
- Unending Hatred has limited uses depending on the enemy type, but of the remaining selections has the best applications for constant gameplay, and is a good boost to resource generation in caster heavy areas.
Rain from Above can also be considered, allowing you to disengage from bad situations and deal a large burst of damage from a safe distance, but some enemies will evade when this is triggered making it a niche pick.
Reverse Magic, Eye of Leotheras, Mana Rift, Detainment, Cover of Darkness, Cleansed by Flame, Mortal Rush, and Mana Break all have very limited uses in PvE, due to it being very focused upon crowd control tools, or pressuring enemy players into spending more resources than they would otherwise want to.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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