An Introductory Demon Hunter Single Target and AOE Rotation Guide


Active Member

Greetings fellow Demon Hunters!

This article is going to be a brief and simple introductory breakdown of the Demon Hunter class. To be specific, this article is going to explain how to optimally play a Havoc Demon Hunter at its most simplistic form. I will be going over many of the core abilities of the class, explaining the priority system in spending/generating our fury, and the most appropriate action to be taken given any distinct situation. A guide that is for more advanced players or to those seeking an even deeper knowledge into class will be created in the near future, and it will focus far more on how talents can change your optimal rotation.

A link to our talents and abilities for reference:
A link to our artifact tree for some minor references:

To begin, we will start discussing our single-target rotation:
Demon’s Bite:
This is our primary fury generator that generates anywhere between 20-30 fury. This button will essentially be pushed at most moments you are building your fury to the max (or close to it) or until you gain enough fury to use a cooldown that needs to be activated at that specific moment.

Chaos Strike: This is our primary fury spender, and will be the button you wish to press most often in terms of maintaining optimal sustained DPS. Once your fury bar is close to being full, you typically will spend it all on Chaos Strike, or during Metamorphosis on Annihilation (this is what Chaos Strike transforms to during your Metamorphosis phase), In nearly most instances, if you have the ability to spam Chaos Strike several times in a row, you will more than likely be doing so.

Throw Glaive: I place this here because Bloodlet as a talent is by far and away your best DPS choice for the 102 level talent tree. This bleed should be maintained on the boss, add, or whoever needs to die, and is easily done so by simply using Throw Glaive every ten seconds. In essence, you should expect to be pressing the Throw Glaive button every ten seconds, regardless of your target (unless you know it will die in less than five seconds, where you lose half or more of the bleed’s damage). Throw Glaive with the Bloodlet bleed can also be useful in terms of sustaining the bleed when you are separated from the raid due to a debuff mechanic, which is going to be a common occurrence thus far at least in the Emerald Nightmare raid.

This ability is the key to your DPS burst potential and should therefore be used very carefully, considering it will be on a five minute cooldown, and will not become a four minute cooldown until you unlock all three levels of your Unleashed Demons trait on your artifact weapon. You obviously want to be able to use Metamorphosis as many times as possible during a fight, but you also need to balance the knowledge of what is the most optimal time to use it, since some fights cause a boss to take adequate damage at only a certain point (such as Gorefiend in Hellfire Citadel, where you would wait until his Feast of Souls phase to use Metamorphosis). In most encounters however, you will be starting your fight by using Eye Beam, casting Metamorphosis (hence getting a free Eye Beam), and then using any other burst cooldowns such as Nemesis and Chaos Blades, so you don’t lose any seconds on their duration, and fitting all damage during the time frames of those abilities within your demon-form. During Metamorphosis, you are going to want to get off as many Annihilations as possible, so the main buttons you will be pressing are Demon’s Bite (to generate fury), Annihilation (to cause significant DPS damage to the target), Eye Beam when you can squeeze it in, and Throw Glaive every ten seconds to maintain the Bloodlet bleed.

Eye Beam: This forty-five second cooldown is a great AOE ability, but also provide a slight single target damage increase and should therefore be used on cooldown only if it will not interfere in its usage shortly thereafter where there will be an opportunity to cast Eye Beam on multiple enemies. Moreover, presuming you select the Demon Reborn talent, you should open your rotation with using Demon’s Bite until you get enough fury (50) to cast Eye Beam, as the cooldown will instantly reset once Metamorphosis is used.

Fury of the Illidari: This is the ability you receive thanks to our artifact weapon, and while it’s a more of an AOE ability, it’s still a solid single target ability that should be used on cooldown when possible (which is every minute).

Vengeful Retreat: If you select Momentum, Prepared, or likely both, you will be using this ability often (every 15 seconds with Prepared or 25 without) to generate fury, damage the target, and increase your DPS by a few seconds. If you don’t select either Prepared or Momentum as talents, you will typically be only using Vengeful Retreat to get out of the raid area when needed or if you wish to reduce the target’s movement speed for a few seconds.

Fel Rush: This will primarily be used as a way to rush back into the fight if you’re away from the area or you need to reach an add/some other area instantly, and still damage the given target a tad. This should be considered your main mobility spell that can provide a touch of damage as an added bonus.

Now that the basic understandings of our single target rotation has been affirmed, I will now move our attention to ur AOE rotation. This is quite simple actually, and is basically a mixture of using some of the aforementioned abilities alongside Blade Dance, just with a different priority system:
Eye Beam:
This is your best AOE ability and should be used as soon as you have enough rage to use it, and typically in a situation where multiple adds are lined up together and stacked close with one another for maximum efficiency.

Fury of the Illidari: This is your second hardest hitting AOE ability; use it on cooldown if available against multiple adds, and make sure you place it in an area that most to all of the adds can be hit; otherwise you will have wasted Fury of the Illidari’s one minute cooldown.

Blade Dance: This is typically your third hardest hitting AOE ability that has a 10 second cooldown (though it can decrease with haste), and will be used when either Eye Beam and Fury of the Illidari are on cooldown. Therefore, this will be your most commonly used AOE ability for encounters with many adds.

Vengeful Retreat into Fel Rush: Since Fel Rush can damage anything touched by its path, you may sometimes find it advantageous when the three above abilities are unavailable to Vengeful Retreat into a Fel Rush in order to slow the speed of one of the adds, and damage all of the others. If you selected Prepared, Momentum, or likely both, Vengeful Retreat into a Fel Rush will likely be your second highest AOE priority behind only Eye Beam.

Demon’s Bite into Chaos Strike: When any of the above cannot be completed, simply use Demon’s Bite and spend it on Chaos Strike so you are at least damaging one of the adds optimally.

AOE Metamorphosis Note: If for some reason during your Metamorphosis an opportunity for good AOE damage presents itself, Death Sweep (what Blade Dance turns into) becomes your highest AOE ability priority alongside Eye Beam.

Thank you for reading, and I certainly hope those interested in the Demon Hunter class, those who want to gain just a greater grasp on it, or even advanced players of the class have found this article to be resourceful! Be on the lookout for my article that is targeted at more advanced players of the class that will be more inclusive of how our talents change our single target and AOE rotations in the near future.
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