Vengeance Demon Hunter Tank Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3

Last updated on Jan 14, 2020 at 03:28 by Munkky 50 comments
General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Vengeance Demon Hunter, depending on the type of damage you will be tanking. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to maximize your survivability and DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3.


Rotation for Vengeance Demon Hunters

The rotation for Vengeance Demon Hunters is based on the following priority, and it is very straightforward, but keep in mind that this does not account for your active mitigation, which we discuss below.

The basic principles are to use up the Pain you generate through various abilities so that you do not cap and waste it, while managing Soul Fragments.

  1. Spirit Bomb Icon Spirit Bomb if 4 or more Souls are active.
  2. Fracture Icon Fracture if you will not cap on Pain/Souls (also make sure not to cap on charges) and you have Fracture Icon Fracture talented.
  3. Immolation Aura Icon Immolation Aura if you will not cap on Pain/Souls.
  4. Soul Cleave Icon Soul Cleave 1-2 times after Spirit Bomb Icon Spirit Bomb or when you need to dump pain while taking Gluttony Icon Gluttony.
  5. Sigil of Flame Icon Sigil of Flame.
  6. Shear Icon Shear as a filler/if you will not cap on Pain/Souls and you do not have Fracture Icon Fracture talented.
  7. Throw Glaive Icon Throw Glaive as a filler.

A simpler priority can be broken down into two versions.

In addition to these abilities, you should also make use of Infernal Strike Icon Infernal Strike (which is off the global cooldown) to deal additional damage. We recommend always keeping at least 1 charge in reserve, however, unless the fight requires no movement whatsoever, in which case you can use up both charges.

Keep in mind that Fiery Brand Icon Fiery Brand is, above all, a defensive cooldown and it should not be used offensively unless you can afford to do so.


Active Mitigation and Defensive Abilities

As a Vengeance Demon Hunter, you have one active mitigation ability, Demon Spikes Icon Demon Spikes, and 2 other defensive abilities, Soul Cleave Icon Soul Cleave and Fiery Brand Icon Fiery Brand. We will look at them very briefly here before going into more detail later on in the guide.

  • Demon Spikes Icon Demon Spikes should be used frequently to avoid big Physical damage, even simply against auto-attacks. Always keep at least one of its charges rolling.
  • Soul Cleave Icon Soul Cleave should be used whenever you require additional healing, to dump Pain, or to consume Soul Fragments.
  • Fiery Brand Icon Fiery Brand should be placed on the target when you anticipate that they will deal high damage to you, or when you simply want to reduce the damage you take (whether Physical or Magic).

Defensive Cooldowns for Vengeance Demon Hunter

As a Vengeance Demon Hunter, you have one defensive cooldown.

Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis increases your current and maximum health by 50%, and your Armor by 200% for 15 seconds. It also enhances your Shear Icon Shear and Fracture Icon Fracture to generate 1 extra soul and 10 extra pain. It has a 3-minute cooldown and no cost.

Metamorphosis works both pro-actively (to increase your health in preparation for damage) and re-actively, as an emergency cooldown to heal you up when you drop low on health. The extra Pain that Metamorphosis generates is also a nice bonus, which you can use on Soul Cleave Icon Soul Cleave for more healing.



Torment Icon Torment is your only taunting ability. It only works on a single target and has an 8-second cooldown. It forces the target to attack you for 3 seconds, and also increases the threat you generate against that target for the same duration.


Optional Read: Mastering Your Vengeance Demon Hunter

The above rotations and ability usage will allow you to perform very well as a Vengeance Demon Hunter. However, there are several concepts that deserve further explanation.


Maximizing Defense

The guide as a whole provides the keys to a mixed style of both offensive and defensive gain. This section is if you want to forego any offense for defense.

There are 2 main things that can be changed to maximize defense. We explain these strategies below.


Feed the Demon

The first involves taking Feed the Demon Icon Feed the Demon. This increases your active mitigation uptime, while decreasing your "burst healing" (that you would gain through Fracture Icon Fracture 2 Souls at a time).

It is overall smoother, though how much smoother is heavily fight-dependent. This style is heavily reliant on Soul consumption and Haste. It will scale very well with Haste as it double dips via lower global cooldown and Demon Spikes Icon Demon Spikes cooldown reduction. So, this may not be heavily relevant at the beginning of the expansion, but may be later on, after more gear is acquired.

An optional thing you can do is to spam Shear Icon Shear. If you do this, you will reduce your DPS and threat generation by a large amount, but will have the highest possible survival output, especially if stacking Soulmonger Icon Soulmonger. This allows you to generate maximum souls for maximum Demon Spikes Icon Demon Spikes uptime and maximal healing from souls. This is not recommended for general use, and only when you do not need to worry about DPS or aggro. For instance when off-tanking a boss.



The main defensive build revolves around using Gluttony Icon Gluttony for higher Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis uptime. You can use this in conjunction with Vision of Perfection Icon Vision of Perfection for healing every time Metamorphosis procs and for more overall uptime. When you use this, you simply build and spend pain. You do not care about overcapping souls. Just do not overcap pain. As long as you press everything on cooldown, you will be fine. You do not change any other aspect of your playstyle. Due to a higher uptime on Metamorphosis, just make sure that you do not cast Demon Spikes Icon Demon Spikes while Meta is up. So that you can have maximum uptime on a defensive.



Vengeance Demon Hunters use a resource called Pain. It is very similar in functionality to Warriors' and Guardian Druids' Rage. For you to properly master your Demon Hunter, you must understand how Pain works.

The Pain bar has a maximum capacity of 100, and is empty by default. Pain decays at a rate of 1 per second when out of combat. In combat, Pain does not decay. Pain comes from a variety of sources, as follows.

  • Immolation Aura Icon Immolation Aura generates 20 Pain over its 6-second duration.
  • Shear Icon Shear generates 10 Pain per cast.
  • Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis generates 7 Pain every second for its 15-second duration for a total of 105 Pain.
  • Successfully interrupting a spell with Disrupt Icon Disrupt generates 30 Pain.
  • Purging a target with Consume Magic Icon Consume Magic provides 20 Pain.

Mastery: Fel Blood

Mastery: Fel Blood Icon Mastery: Fel Blood increase the Physical damage reduction provided by Demon Spikes Icon Demon Spikes and also increases your attack power. The actual increase amounts depend on how much Mastery you have.


Soul Fragments

Soul Fragments are a unique Vengeance Demon Hunter mechanic. The baseline ability comes from the Shattered Souls Icon Shattered Souls passive.

When you kill a target, there is a chance that a Soul Fragment will be created. This is an orb that is placed on the ground at a nearby location, which persists for up to 20 seconds. If you walk over it, you will consume the Soul Fragment, and be healed for a certain amount (348.075%% of your attack power in health). Only you can see and interact with your Soul Fragments.

Moreover, if a Soul Fragment comes from a Demon target, consuming it will also increase your damage done by 20% for 15 seconds.

In addition to these Soul Fragments, there are also Lesser Soul Fragments. These have a chance to be created when you damage targets with Shear Icon Shear, or with Immolation Aura Icon Immolation Aura (provided that you have the Fallout Icon Fallout talent), and using the Fracture Icon Fracture talent also generates 2 Lesser Soul Fragments each time it is used. They work in exactly the same way, but they heal for 8% of damage taken in the last 8 seconds, or a minimum of 1% of your Maximum Health.

It is worth noting that each Soul Fragment or Lesser Soul Fragment you generate if you already have 5 active will be instantly consumed. Moreover, Spirit Bomb Icon Spirit Bomb will consume all Soul Fragments within 25 yards.

One final mention worth making is that your Soul Cleave Icon Soul Cleave ability will instantly consume 2 Soul Fragments (including Lesser ones) in a 25-yard radius. This is significant because, given the frequency with which you use Soul Cleave, walking around to manually collect Soul Fragments is simply not necessary. Note that any Soul Fragments consumed by Soul Cleave (as well as by your Soul Barrier Icon Soul Barrier talent) will still heal you and also properly trigger your Gluttony Icon Gluttony talent.


Pain Management

In general, Pain management is fairly simple. You should always avoid reaching maximum Pain (try not to exceed 80) so as not to have any additional Pain wasted, and you should also always keep some amount of Pain in reserve to allow the use of Soul Cleave Icon Soul Cleave and Spirit Bomb Icon Spirit Bomb.


In-Depth Ability Usage

In this section, we will go into more detail about some of the abilities mentioned above, as well as cover a number of other useful Vengeance Demon Hunter abilities.


Infernal Strike

Infernal Strike Icon Infernal Strike is off the global cooldown, and deals damage on impact. It should be used on cooldown as much as possible, though charges should be saved if movement is required.


Flame Crash

Sigil of Flame Icon Sigil of Flame stacks up to 3 times due to this ability. It is a dps increase to overlap 2 Sigils as opposed to doing seperate casts. Wait a second before applying the second debuff. This simply looks like: Infernal Strike Icon Infernal Strike > Sigil of Flame Icon Sigil of Flame.


Throw Glaive

Throw Glaive Icon Throw Glaive is a ranged attack that deals a small amount of damage and generates a high amount of threat on its target, and which can bounce to up to 2 additional targets within 10 yards, damaging them as well.

Normally, this ability is not worth using in your rotation, however when you take the Fracture Icon Fracture talent, you will use this ability as a filler. The only reason to use Throw Glaive otherwise is to pick up new targets (such as adds that have just spawned) from afar.


Consume Magic

Consume Magic Icon Consume Magic simply purges one buff from an enemy and provides you with 20 Pain if you successfully do so.



Disrupt Icon Disrupt is a simple ranged single target interrupt with a 15-second cooldown. Successfully interrupting a spell generates 30 Pain. It should be used as often as possible to benefit from the Pain it grants.



Sigils are abilities that you cast a targeted location on the ground, and which produce an effect at that location 2 seconds later.

Sigil of Flame Icon Sigil of Flame deals Fire damage to all enemies in the Sigil, and places a 6-second Fire damage DoT on them as well.

Sigil of Chains Icon Sigil of Chains pulls all enemies to the center of the Sigil and snares them, reducing their movement speed by 70% for 6 seconds. Note that this is a talent.

Sigil of Misery Icon Sigil of Misery causes all enemies in the Sigil to cower in fear, being disoriented for up to 30 seconds. This acts as an interrupt against non-boss targets, since moving around causes them to stop their cast.

Sigil of Silence Icon Sigil of Silence silences all enemies in the Sigil for 6 seconds.


Advanced Active Mitigation Usage


Demon Spikes

Demon Spikes Icon Demon Spikes is off the global cooldown, and increases your parry chance and reduces your Physical damage taken for 6 seconds. It has 2 charges and a 20-second recharge time (reduced by Haste).

You will normally want to have a minimum uptime of 30% (increased by Haste) on this ability, which means you always make sure one of its charges is on cooldown. Using Demon Spikes even when you are only taking melee attacks from a boss is perfectly acceptable.

The only reason you would ever want to have 2 charges available and not use them is if you know you will need to chain 2 Demon Spikes Icon Demon Spikes casts for a long period of continuous damage reduction in the near future.


Soul Cleave

Soul Cleave Icon Soul Cleave costs 30 Pain. It damages the enemies located in front of you, heals you, and consumes 2 Soul Fragments in a 25-yard radius around you.


Fiery Brand

Fiery Brand Icon Fiery Brand is a defensive ability; in fact more of a cooldown, since it has an uptime of 8 seconds per minute.

It deals damage to the target, and debuffs them for 8 seconds, causing them to deal 40% less damage to you.

Fiery Brand Icon Fiery Brand should practically always be saved for damage reduction against the primary target. That said, you should still look to maximise uptime, so do not hold on to it for too long.



  • 14 Jan. 2020: Updated for 8.3
  • 24 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 16 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed and is up to date for patch 8.1.
  • 28 Sep. 2018: Updated Flame Crash text.
  • 12 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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