Diablo 3: The Best Demon Hunter Builds, Ranked

If physical damage is your favorite thing about Diablo 3, then it’s not a wild guess to suggest your favorite class is the Demon Hunter. While Wizards are much more subject to the phrase “glass cannon,” it’s actually the Demon Hunter that gets killed on hardcore runs before any other class in the game.

That number, of course, is largely due to headstrong rookies that aren’t prepared for the difficulty of the game and do not understand how to truly utilize the Demon Hunter. These builds have been battle-tested through the highest-level rifts in the game, so if you want to be one of the experts and not part of the problem, take a look at these ideas that walk the talk.

Updated on April 23rd, 2021 by Hodey Johns: This article was written on the heels of a patch that significantly altered the game with how companions worked. While players had an idea of what might work well on paper, practice has shown that some unexpected builds have risen to the top of the Greater Rifts. The entries have been completely reworked to include a full list of items, skills, item stat priorities, and gameplay descriptions.

Shadow Impale

  • Active skills: Impale (Overpenetration), Vault (Tumble), Vengeance (Dark Heart), Fan of Knives (Bladed Armor), Companion (Boar Companion), Shadow Power (Night Bane)
  • Passive skills: Tactical Advantage, Ambush, Leech, Cull the Weak
  • Armor: The Shadow’s Mask (Flawless Royal Diamond), Aughild’s Power, The Shadow’s Bane (Flawless Royal Diamonds), The Shadow’s Grasp, Aughild’s Search, Chain of Shadows (Flawless Royal Diamonds), The Shadow’s Coil, The Shadow’s Heels
  • Jewelry: The Traveler’s Pledge, The Compass Rose, Convention of Elements
  • Weapons: Karlei’s Point (Flawless Royal Emerald), Holy Point Shot
  • Caldesann’s Despair Augment: Dexterity
  • Legendary Gems: Pain Enhancer, Bane of the Stricken, Bane of the Trapped
  • Item Stat Priorities: Cooldown Reduction (until 37%), Elemental Damage Type, Critical Hit Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Impale Damage, Attack Speed, Area Damage
  • Kanai’s Cube: Dawn, Stone Gauntlets, Ring of Royal Grandeur

As far as solo Greater Rifts go, this build is neck-and-neck with the Rapid Fire build and it may suit the style of Demon Hunters who are interested in a dagger-tossing instead of crossbolt-shooting kind of experience. While the other DPS builds on this list rely on evasion and trying to avoid damage at all costs, the Shadow Impale Build sacrifices a little bit of damage for a whole lot of tanking through skills.

Tanking to damage ratio isn’t the only well-balanced part of the build, it excels against both mob damage and single targets. Thanks to the gear and the stats, this build will have Vengeance and Shadow Power active all of the time. Players that use this build can choose their favorite kind of damage and then burst when the correct empowerment on the Convention of Elements rotates in.

Rapid Fire

  • Active skills: Companion (Boar Companion), Rapid Fire (Bombardment), Vault (Tumble), Smoke Screen (Vanishing Powder), Vengeance (Side Cannons), Rain of Vengeance (Shade)
  • Passive skills: Grenadier, Leech, Cull the Weak, Awareness
  • Armor: Natalya’s Sight (Flawless Royal Diamond), Aughild’s Power, Natalya’s Embrace (Flawless Royal Diamonds), Natalya’s Touch, Augild’s Search, Hellcat Waistguard, Natalya’s Leggings (Flawless Royal Diamonds), Natalya’s Bloody Footprints
  • Jewelry: The Traveler’s Pledge, The Compass Rose, Convention of Elements
  • Weapons: Dawn (Flawless Royal Emerald), Sin Seekers
  • Caldesann’s Despair Augment: Dexterity
  • Legendary Gems: Bane of the Stricken, Pain Enhancer, Bane of the Trapped
  • Item Stat Priorities: Cooldown Reduction (until 37%), Critical Hit Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Fire Damage, Area Damage
  • Kanai’s Cube: Wojahnni Assaulter, Stone Gauntlets, Ring of Royal Grandeur

While the GoD Hungering Arrow build might have higher DPS for single target and solo rifts, Demon Hunters in charge of clearing groups for a four-person team will want to do the Rapid Fire build instead. It’s the best area damage that a Demon Hunter can do right now.

After getting to 37% cooldown reduction, Vengeance can be activated 100% of the timeUse Rain of Vengeance, then Vault to safety, and cast Rapid Fire. Keep channeling until everything is dead or until five seconds are up and then repeat this cycle.

There is a variation of this build that uses the Legacy of Dreams legendary gem. The damage is about eight levels lower on the Greater Rifts, but it can be a little bit tankier for Demon Hunters without a reliable Barbarian to grab enemies.

GoD Hungering Arrow

    • Active skills: Companion (Boar Companion), Strafe (Rocket Storm), Vengeance (Dark Heart), Hungering Arrow (Devouring Arrow), Fan of Knives (Bladed Armor), Smoke Screen (Vanishing Powder)
    • Passive skills: Cull the Weak, Ambush, Tactical Advantage, Archery
    • Armor: Dystopian Goggled (Flawless Royal Diamond), Mechanical Pauldrons, Galvanized Vest (Flawless Royal Diamonds), Gas Powered Automail Forearm, Wraps of Clarity, Hunter’s Wrath, Cold Cathode Trousers (Flawless Royal Diamonds), Antique Vintage Boots
    • Jewelry: Squirt’s Necklace, Focus, Restraint
    • Weapons: Dawn (Flawless Royal Emerald), Fortress Ballista (Flawless Royal Emerald)
    • Caldesann’s Despair Augment: Dexterity
    • Legendary Gems: Taeguk, Simplicity’s Strength, Zei’s Stone of Vengeance
    • Item Stat Priorities: Cooldown Reduction (until 37%), Critical Hit Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Cold Damage, Hungering Arrow Damage, Area Damage
    • Kanai’s Cube: The Ninth Cirri Satchel, Depth Diggers, Convention of Elements

    Before even talking about this class in the context of late-game ability, it must be noted that this is the single best solo farming build in the game of any class. Even those who plan on doing different builds should really consider saving a set in the Armory for the GoD Hungering Arrow build just for the sake of farming paragon levels and items.

    This is the best solo build for Demon Hunter’s in the game, reaching as high as Greater Rift 142. In parties, if the Demon Hunter has the responsibility of DPS, the Fortress Ballista can be sacrificed for Balla’s Bequest for a chance to proc extra Hungering arrow strikes.

    After getting to 37% cooldown reduction, Vengeance never has to be on cooldown. The real trick here is to avoid getting hit at all so that Squirt’s Necklace gives its full benefit. Strafe for the entire game, only breaking every four seconds or to fire a single Hungering Arrow to keep every stack maxed out.

    ZDH Support

    • Active skills: Entangling Shot (Chain Gang), Marked for Death (Valley of Death), Multishot (Wind Chill), Companion (Wolf Companion), Vault (Tumble), Sentry (Guardian Turret)
    • Passive skills: Tactical Advantage, Perfectionist, Numbing Traps, Awareness
    • Armor: Leoric’s Crown (Flawless Royal Diamond), Asheara’s Custodian, Aquila Cuirass (Flawless Royal Diamonds), Asheara’s Ward, Nemesis Bracers, Hunter’s Wrath, Captain Crimson’s Thrust (Flawless Royal Diamonds), Captain Crimson’s Waders
    • Jewelry: The Flavor of Time, Elusive Ring, Oculus Ring
    • Weapons: Leonine Bow of Hashir (Flawless Royal Amethyst), Emimei’s Duffel
    • Caldesann’s Despair Augment: Intelligence
    • Legendary Gems: Esoteric Alteration, Gem of Efficacious Toxin, Iceblink
    • Item Stat Priorities: Cooldown Reduction, Resource Cost Reduction, Attack Speed, Resist All, Life Percentage, Armor, Vitality
    • Kanai’s Cube: Buriza-Do Kyanon, Wraps of Clarity, Ring of Royal Grandeur

    After getting nothing but damage builds so far, it might surprise some people to see that the Demon Hunter’s best build is a support one. Of course, those who have been playing the game for the last few years aren’t surprised at all; the zDH (the z stands for “zero” as in “zero damage”) has surpassed the Monk in terms of support and is essentially a requirement for three and four-man groups. For those who dream of clearing Greater Rift 150, the only Demon Hunters to do so have used this build.

    As with all groups, a zBarb is going to take the role of the gatherer and that leaves you with the job of buffing your allies and debuffing the enemies. Additionally, you’ll be splitting tanking duties with the Barbarian, so be sure you’re ready to take several hits. You should always be the one to activate a shrine and spawn an enemy champion, then the Barbarian will be in charge of bringing that champion back to the group. Fire Multishot every three seconds to keep up the debuff.

    There are plenty of variants of this build, especially if the zBarb has the Nemesis Bracers and/or Oculus Ring, so be sure to communicate your build with your teammates.

    NEXT: Diablo 3: The Best Solo Classes Ranked From Worst To Best

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    Hodey Johns is a writer for Game Rant based out of the Rocky Mountains in North Ogden, Utah. He’s had a passion for video games and literature since he was a child growing up along the beach in San Diego, California. As a graduate of Theology from Liberty University, he puts his experience with religion, philosophy, and debate into his work. His other interests include sports, bike riding, and good old-fashioned barbecue.

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