Don't forget to Request Sticky, thanks!
Life on Hit Tanking for Demon Hunters: How it’s done and how/why it works.
Re-written on 19th of June
First of all, just to clear things up. I've beaten the game on Inferno using this spec. Flamers and trolls, this thread is not for you! ;)
If you're like me and played Diablo II and just loved the Assassin, liked how it could actually be in melee range and still dash out huge amounts of damage. Like we all know there's no Assassin class in D3. They gave us the Demon Hunter that also possesses the dark background, shady, ninja-like and mystical feel, but appears to lack the ability to survive in melee range.
I got the idea of a Demon Hunter tank back when I first tried Diablo 3 beta. I tried to look for a forum post or anything related to Demon Hunter being able to melee or tank, but I could not find one. All the posts I found ended up in the comment that it could not be done and I wanted to change that.
I originally made this guide some time back with pure damage mitigation in mind and that I would only heal through using Shadow Power, but after watching a video linked by Senko to the original guide I decided to give it a go. After a lot of testing and messing around, it seems that the only viable endgame tactic is to go with high LoH (Life on Hit) value combined with high defensive stats and certain skills that complement LoH. Pure mitigation worked pretty well in Act 1, but just didn’t have the same potential or relaxed “tanky” feel as this one has.
But enough with the soft talk and let’s get to the fun stuff!
- 1. Life on Hit (To about 1.7k - 2k. After those values, you gain close to no benefit from more of it)
2. All res (To about 800-900. Still provides value after those numbers, but drops to #7)
3. Vitality (Keeps it's value till you reach about 60-70k HP)
(3.5 Block chance)
4. Dex (Always a good stat, no matter how much you stack it. Dodge and damage!)
5. Armor (Till about 65-70% damage redu)
6. Strength (Try to keep your Str under 500 though to prevent wasting stats)
7. DPS stats like IAS, Crit, Crit dmg once you've reached defensive values presented above.
To prevent your self from being one shot, you'll need more max HP and resistances, either stat does nothing on it's own. Same goes for other defensive stats.
Here's my spec:
- LMB: Grenades – Gas Grenades (Leaves a 3 sec AoE DoT on the ground)
RMB: Chakram – Shuriken Cloud (2 minute AoE DoT around you in Melee Range)
Q/1: Caltrops - Jagged Spikes (Deals 45% wep damage to all targets in the area every sec)
E/2: Preparation - Battle Scars (Heals you for 60% of your max HP)
R/3: Sentry - Guardian Turret (Reduces damage taken by 15% when near the turret)
F/4: Shadow Power - Gloom (Reduces damage taken by 65% when active)
- Numbing Traps (25% less damage from monsters that are hit by your Caltrops)
Cull the Weak (+15% damage against slowed enemies)
Custom Engineering (Doubles the duration of your Caltrops and Sentry)
This spec is a bit more balanced between damage dealing and surviving, so it's pretty sweet for both killing bosses and grinding elites, removing the fear of enrages for the most part.
Strategy / Gameplay:
You’ll have at least one trap (usually 2-5) under your enemies - the ones that are in melee range of you anyway – to decrease their damage output on you while dealing massive damage to them over time, at all times. You’ll have your Shuriken Cloud on you at all times to add some more damage over time. During the fight, you should also focus on spamming grenades so that they will hit the most enemies with the grenade explosion but with the AoE DoT as well. At first, when your gear is still not quite to the right level compared to content, you’ll need to use your Guardian Turret a lot to prevent from getting one or two shotted, but later on, you’ll mostly just need it for the elite packs. As for Shadow Power – Gloom, you’re going to want to save some Discipline for this one in case the you-know-what hits the fan, but it’s also pretty handy to pre-pop it before running in melee range, so that you can get your traps laid and a possible turret up for the damage mitigation. So in the end, you’ll have damage numbers flying on your screen like there’s no tomorrow, even though your “damage” might seem low with this kind of gear, you’ll be dealing pretty decent if not brilliant amounts of area damage to everything around you. Along with the damage that your skills rapidly deal, every single one of them (apart from your Sentry) will trigger a Life on Hit for you on every hit, tick and proc.
This is the only strategy that I've found viable in the later acts of Inferno difficulty and it's been working pretty damn well so far. As I wrote earlier, I’m still tuning my gear, so it’ll work even better with some über legendaries or something in that direction.
I find hard hitting melee mobs quite annoying (got a String of Ears with me to counter the problem nowadays though). Ranged mobs that run away can be a real pain in the “#%, especially Moloks in Act 3 since they hit like trucks and are hard to get in melee range for the Life on Hit to kick in, not to even mention in getting them stay there. I will not touch Colossal Mace Dude elite packs though – even with String of Ears – they just hit too damn hard, I usually kite them with Caltrops and throw some Grenades.
The gear you need to be able to pull this spec off is not that insane as I originally thought. The first and most important piece of gear you’ll need is a one handed Crossbow with quite high Life on Hit and a socket, just because crossbows are so much cheaper than other one handed weapon types, but basically you could go full melee with this spec if you’re lucky enough to find a melee wep with the required stats or have the coin to buy one (go and test it out!). The damage of the weapon is not really that important since you’ll outlast your enemies easily. Try to get at least 600 LoH and save up some gold to craft a Star Amethyst to increase your LoH total even further. Getting additional LoH on other pieces is not a necessity in lower acts and the reason behind this is your multiple fast hitting attacks will make your LoH proc rate insanely high and you’ll regenerate health much faster than pretty much any monster can deal to you in damage (exceptions being slow and hard hitting melees and some ranged ones). When you get to about half way through Act 3, you’ll perhaps start spending some serious coin on upgrades if you’re struggling. Extra Life on hit is useful, but your main concern will be to not get one or two shotted. As long as you’ll be able to regenerate yourself to full HP between enemy melee swings or casts, you’ll be just fine. Aside from LoH, you’ll want to stack up your Dexterity and defensive stats in total. Nothing special on this part, just lots of Vitality, percentage bonus to health, loooads of Resist all and that sorts of things, you can even look up Tank Barb gearing guides, but just replace Strength with Dex.
What follower to use?
I find the Enchantress the best one to use, because of her talent called “Powered Armor”. The skill increases your total armor by 15% which is quite good considering how we Demon Hunters have a hard time stacking up armor, because of the lack of Strength in our gear. In addition to Powered Armor, you’re going to want your follower to dash out as much damage as possible, so visit the AH (or your stash) to equip her with items with the most Intelligence on them (because followers get a multiplier of 2.5 on base stats). Rest of the follower’s skills are up to you, but I recommend using the ones that deal the most damage.
My follower’s full skill tree:
Forceful Push, Powered Armor, Erosion and Focused Mind
I find this way of playing the Demon Hunter a lot of fun and a nice change of "scenery" from my normal damage dodging, ranged bringer of death. I hope you will have fun trying this spec out and please let me know what you think!
I'd love to get some feedback on how it's working for you and if you have any tips on how to improve the build somehow, please write it down here!
Thanks for reading my wall of text and I hope you enjoyed it!
P.S. If you missed it, my youtube channel is linked at the start of the post. They're filmed by me and they demonstrate how this kind of build works out in end game :)